Van Halen Used To Make This Insane Demand Backstage – But Looking Back, It Was Absolutely Genius

Van Halen Used To Make This Insane Demand Backstage – But Looking Back, It Was Absolutely Genius | Society Of Rock Videos

Fin Costello / Redferns

The Secret’s In The M&Ms

Van Halen’s rider from their 1982 Hide Your Sheep Tour in support of Diver Down is pretty standard at first glance; how many people on the crew need to be fed, dietary restrictions (2 vegetarian or Chinese meals after every show for two band members), who pays for what – but it’s the band’s famed “no brown M&Ms” clause that still raises eyebrows and earns a scoff from people more than 3 decades later.

Sure, it sounds crazy; I mean, someone had to sit there and remove all brown M&Ms from an entire bag before presenting the bowl to the band. Yet as insane as this backstage demand might be, there was a pretty genius reason for it: to ensure that specific safety measures on Van Halen’s tour rider were followed to the absolute letter.


Potato chips with assorted dips




Twelve (12) Reese’s peanut butter cups

Twelve (12) assorted Dannon yogurt (on ice)

That was the litmus test for how safety conscious a venue’s staff was. If the requested bowl of M&Ms contained even one brown M&M, it showed a lack of attention to detail and by extension gave Van Halen and their team reason to be concerned that something could go horribly wrong as a result of one person’s laziness. Say what you will, but you’ve got to admit – it’s pretty cool that Van Halen would go to some pretty ridiculous lengths to ensure that fans were able to enjoy their time with the band safely and responsibly.

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